first_imgFormer India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has said that India are better than England at handling pressure ahead of the five-match Test series between the two cricketing giants.Manjrekar also said that it will be wrong to write off India, who are aiming to win their first Test series in England in 11 years, in the gruelling series starting at Edgbaston from August 1.India have suffered two massive blows in the form of injuries to pacemen Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. While Bhuvneshwar has been ruled out for the first three Tests, Bumrah will not be part of the playing XI in the first game.”I wish everyone was fit; it would have made for a great series. But with all these injury setbacks for India, England start as favourites.”Still, don’t rule India out, because if it gets tight, this Indian team has the capability to come out trumps. For when it comes to handling pressure, temperamentally this team, led and inspired by [Virat] Kohli, is far superior to the hosts. Temperamentally this is one of the best teams India have ever had. We saw evidence of that in their last Test, against South Africa at the Wanderers earlier this year,” Manjrekar wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha injuries raise several questionsManjrekar said Bumrah’s absence from the first Test was a massive setback but backed other pacers to do well.”Bumrah being unavailable is a massive setback for India. Yes, there is Mohammed Shami, who has the knack of turning the tide by suddenly getting three wickets in one spell. He is still the most gifted of all the current Indian seamers but he is a bit of a “blow hot, blow cold” kind of bowler, which does not help.advertisement”India’s bowling, if all their bowlers were fit, was going to be their strength on this England tour, a rare instance indeed where India’s bowling was going to outweigh their batting.”The former cricketer also compared India’s current overseas batting line-up to that of the 1990s.”Speaking of India’s batting overseas, in South Africa, England and Australia, it is now a bit like it was in the ’90s, dependent very much on one man. It was Sachin Tendulkar then, it’s Virat Kohli now,” Manjrekar wrote.For Australia, Virat Kohli is similar to Steve Smith: Pat CumminsManjrekar also said that KL Rahul has the potential to bat in overseas conditions.”On their last big stretch of overseas trips, from 2013 through 2015, India’s batting was more rounded, with M Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane being a great support cast to Kohli. Since then both Rahane and Vijay have dropped a few notches as batsmen, while Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan have never been a force as batsmen overseas like they are in home conditions; in fact, both have lost their places in the playing XI during overseas series.”That’s why I believe KL Rahul has to be given all the support and opportunities possible, for he is potentially India’s next successful overseas batsman to partner Kohli with the bat. Dropping him in the final ODI in England was a big mistake for this very reason,” he said.Cannot let Ashwin fade away so quickly, says GangulyThe first Test will be followed by matches at Lord’s (August 9 to August 13), Trent Bridge (August 18 to August 22), The Rose Bowl (August 30 to September 3) and Kennington Oval (September 7 to September 11).last_img read more